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Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti

スプラッターハウス わんぱくグラフィティ

Developer: Now Production Publisher: Namcot
31 July 1989
Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti [スプラッターハウス わんぱくグラフィティ] - cover art
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3.08 / 5.0
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32 Ratings / 1 Reviews
#36 for 1989
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On the surface of this cutesy parody of the Splatterhouse series, there is little to recommend: the game plays is ultra-simple for a beat 'em up you jump, you attack, with your cleaver (most enemies die in one hit) or you sometimes get a shotgun and can plug things with a near insta-kill from across the screen. Most enemies just run around and get hit, others seem the throw projectiles randomly. The game however is really short (it can be beaten within an hour) so the shallow gameplay doesn't really hurt as bad as one might think.

What makes the game shine is how unserious it is and that you kind of wish there were more parody-themed video games. You get Thriller-dancing Dracula, a Jaws-like shark that appears at the Crystal-lake themed section, you can be kidnapped mid-game, or enter a house and enter a second door and end up in ancient Egypt (!).

The flavour of the game is enough to give it a mild recommendation for those who have played all the traditional "classics" of the NES and are open to trying things that are just a bit off the beaten path. Or just place Castlevania for the 100th time, whatever, I'm not your dad.
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unj 2021-10-26T10:16:54Z
2021-10-26T10:16:54Z
3.0
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This is the seventh in a series of 777 reviews I'm doing on potential Castlevania clones. Even though it is the seventh review this is actually the fifth game I played, but I really didn't have a lot to say about it, especially in comparison to Monster Party which is what I played and reviewed instead. I felt like the review of that game kind of wrote itself whereas this...
I'm admitting to you right here that I kind of made some internal rules for myself when I started on this quest to look through other games people have called Castlevania-likes before. One of those rules was I had to review any game that I played. The problem with those rules is there is only so much you can say about some games and a game like this that is as simple as it is, has basically had everything you'll ever need to hear said about it, already written by sites like HardcoreGaming101. One of the reasons why I want to review every game I evaluate on the merits of it being a Castlevania clone or not is the same reason a teacher demands children show how they solved a math problem rather than just showing the answers. I want people to see that I really evaluated these games, whether you agree with the conclusions or not. I want you to know I didn't just take one cursory glance at these games and walk away with an answer. So that is why I'll force myself to say something about this, despite not having much to say.
This game was never released or officially translated for western audiences. It was a Japanese exclusive up until recently when it was given a fan translation and then officially it was released here in the Namco Museum Archives Vol. 1, but I'm not sure if that version is translated. So you might wonder what does "Wanpaku Graffiti " mean? From what I can tell Wanpaku means something like "mischievous" and I don't know what relation that has to Graffiti. I think it basically means the main antagonist of this game is a naughty boy. I could be totally wrong about that and the word graffiti totally changes the meaning of the previous word, which often happens in Japanese, but that is what I could muster from trying to find out what the game's name means. Which keep my possibly false definition of the name in mind in your head as you read the next paragraph as it might be hinting at something more than the game itself.

The game is an 8-bit horror title and if you know anything about games, the name might be a little familiar to you. This is technically the second game of the Splatterhouse [スプラッターハウス] series. It is kind of like the rest of the games in that series only if those games sucked and were made as a joke... Which this game was, possibly. You see there is a running hypothesis about this game amongst the gaming community, that its sole purpose of being was to troll Nintendo. Nintendo had a penchant for being holier than thou when it came to other game companies. The biggest example was their treatment of SEGA during the senate hearings that would ultimately lead to the creation of the ESRB rating system in America. Howard Lincoln basically all but accuses Sega of being hardcore violence lovers, who are peddling pornography to children, with the implication being Nintendo is the responsible kid-friendly choice that families can trust. Even before that happened, some developers didn't like Nintendo's attitude on games, and the makers of the Splatterhouse series may have decided to take matters into their own hands and take a series Nintendo had previously criticized in Japan because Splatterhouse was a breakout hit for their biggest competitor there the PC Engine or as we know it, the TurboGraphics and decided to make a kid-friendly version of the game that even Nintendo the Karen of video game companies couldn't complain about. Whether that is the case, it has made for an interesting rumor surrounding this game and it is far more interesting than the actual game itself. So I just spent my load on this review and we aren't even halfway done with this shit. Can I just say watching clips of him again reminded me that Howard Lincoln was badass and it made me realize how much Reggie sucked in comparison as the head of Nintendo of America? Just a bland corporate creature whose response to everything was talking about stocks and doing a mean face at E3's. Howard Lincoln was an asshole, but he was that dude you love to hate.

Now possible jokes aside, I did say this game sucked, now why would I say such a thing? I said that because there is no aspect of this game that rises above the level of mediocrity. There isn't like one major thing the game does wrong and this isn't even close to being the worst game I ever played or anything, but it just doesn't do anything right either and the small negatives it has consistently eat away at the small moments that I start to like the game. So it isn't like the last game I played Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde [ジーキル博士の彷魔が刻] where it's shit from start to finish. This game functions, but what it is trying to function as just isn't interesting or fun to me. It's sidescrolling almost a beat-em up but not quite gameplay just doesn't do it for me. Everything in this game is extremely easy from the level design, to the enemy encounters, the bosses. This game is about as easy as the game I previously said set a low bar for this series I'm doing Monster in My Pocket. I'll give this game the same excuse and leeway I gave that one in that because I think this game was aimed at extremely young Japanese children I can somewhat forgive its easy nature. I don't think this game was trying to be hard and failed, I think it aimed for an overall easy and cutesy design and in that regard, it succeeded. But like Mr. Costello I can't stand up for falling down, just because I understand the intent behind a design doesn't mean I have to personally like it. The enemies just do the same back and forth walking pattern I describe in my review of Master of Darkness [イン ザ ウエイク オブ ヴァンパイア]. This has to be the most mediocre way to make enemies seem animated in a game, but I guess technically they're animated because they move. The hardest obstacle in this game, and I'm really stretching the definition of the word "hard" here is random unkillable things that will fly at you during sequences where you're locked into a specific room until enough things die. In one of these action sequences, knives keep jabbing at you from above and it's probably about as difficult as the game gets. It reminds me a little of the tile rooms in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past [ゼルダの伝説 神々のトライフォース] but the difference is you can actually attack those and Link's attack doesn't have a massive stupid ass delay with his attacks while doing so, like the character in this game does. Everything else in this game is just walking forward and lightly attacking things. The last level has some minor shit you have to jump over, but by that point, it isn't enough to stop you and it wouldn't constitute platforming to jump over a few holes in the ground.
Yeah, the main thing you need to know about this game is like the last two I reviewed... It is not a platformer. I really need reviewers and people that make lists suggesting that one game is like another to understand something sidescroller doesn't equal platformer. Even if a game was a platformer, it would still need to be an action platformer, there is a reason we don't call Castlevania a Mario-like, because it added that action dimension into its platforming. The number of games that fail on the criteria of not even being the right genre or genres will probably be immense as I go through this series, but right off the bat let's just say it fails again to be a clone and for the same reason for a third time in a fucking row. So it isn't an action platformer. So what is it, you might be asking? So the rest of the Splatterhouse games, are horror-themed Beatem'up and this game as I said above is kind of that too. Only without any auto-scrolling and with far less enemies than most games of that genre would have. The enemies also aren't as interactive or aggressive with the player as most would be in games of that genre. I already described their easy walking patterns above. But they also fail heavily with their attacks. Even compared to the most rudimentary of Beat'ems like Double Dragon this game somehow feels more basic and unimpressive than that. So even just evaluating it on what I think is supposed to be its actual genre doesn't save it any more than mislabelling it as a Castlevania clone does.
Spoiler for future reviews, basically every Splatterhouse game has been put on a list calling it a Castlevania-like so I will have to review every game in the series, showing why I think they aren't.

The story of this game is that Jennifer a pink-haired grill is crying over a grave when it is suddenly struck by lightning and out pops Rick the Jason Rip-off that is the protagonist of the Splatterhouse series and Jennifer is like his Princess Peach, in that he is usually trying to save her in each of these games. This is what ends up happening in this game. This opening sequence is probably a reference to Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI. Which I think is the second-best movie in the series. So you go through the game and there is periodically more "story" which mostly amounts to one sentence updates on where you are. The main antagonist is some kind of pumpkin motherfucker, which I was told in another review I read is some kind of reference to Japanese folklore. Anyway, the game ends and it is revealed that all of this was a movie, and Rick, Jennifer, and the gang all leave the set to live happily ever after. Only the mask is shown to actually be magical when they leave revealing that all might not have been as it seemed...
The story is ok and to be fair to it, it probably has the best one of the games I have talked about so far, but that isn't saying a whole lot. I will give it props for making sense at least and for keeping the same tone all the way through. The game got this one thing mostly right.

The music in this game is just abrasive dog shit. The kind of music a lot of 8-bit titles had, where it's on the verge of being constantly annoying and somehow miraculously bland at the same time. The boss theme does remind me of a shittier version of the main theme from Clock Tower [クロックタワー], but not close enough to make me like it.
The graphics aren't horrible, but they don't really stand out either. The other Splatterhouse titles are known for their vibrant and awesomely violent sprite work and backgrounds. I don't expect the NES to be able to compete with the PC Engine or Arcade graphically, but I have seen games with much better horror artwork and aesthetics than this on the system. There is a lot of visual humor in the game like bosses that mimic The Fly and one that I think is a reference to Alien. It also has a Dracula that opens up its cape and fireballs come out, so I guess it's got that part of being a clone right. Only it's a top-down attack so the fireballs come at you from above and for no apparent reason he does an imitation of the Thriller dance. I get the feeling that like Monster Party this game has a cult status among kids who played this when it was relevant. Japanese reviewers who would have been the only ones to play this as a kid seem to have a reverence for it that is beyond the pale for me. Beyond just nostalgia, I noticed other reviewers will give a mighty hefty pass to any game in the past that had some amount of humor and quirk to it and I don't really get this attitude. If a film had funny parts, but the film itself was directed and acted in a totally unintentionally bad way, the movie would still be bad. The "quirk" factor isn't enough to save a piece of media.
I don't really like the "chibi" sprite they use for Rick in this game. It's just a very unappealing-looking bit of animation. Enemy designs are a mixed bag, some of this stuff looks cool, but a lot of is just bland. All of it is kind of a middle ground between the extreme Japanese nature of a game like Monster Party and all those eight-bit horror titles that try to be western when they aren't. It has some Japanese horror elements in it, but not enough to be interesting and the western horror stuff is cartoonish and simplistic to be good. Even a lot of the other bad games I reviewed so far had good sprites and cool horror aesthetics, this game just doesn't really have either for most of its short duration.
The game has some graphically impressive segments related to its later bosses. One of them is like the tarot card of the devil and after sitting in a pentagram the dude turn's into Black Phillip with this weird strobe-like effect on the colors. I think it's the one time the game's horror aesthetics actually worked on me. The main boss which is this weird room with a flying pumpkin head thing has some cool stuff in the background, but this is kind of marred with some obvious copy and pasting of things back there. Even where the game is slightly impressive, the immersion I have is broken by the inherent laziness of the way the game was made.
Which is ultimately the game's biggest problem. Just a general lack of effort in every facet of its existence. I can understand making a game for kids... But it still has to be good. I think this is the second-worst game I played in this series I'm doing so far but it also isn't bad enough to actually be interesting in that way either. It's one of those below-average titles that if it wasn't tied to a bigger series I doubt most people would even remember it today.

Winners don't use drugs.
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Catalog

hevykofe スプラッターハウス わんぱくグラフィティ 2024-01-02T12:42:21Z
NES • JP
2024-01-02T12:42:21Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Zippybing スプラッターハウス わんぱくグラフィティ 2023-12-20T03:33:36Z
NES • JP
2023-12-20T03:33:36Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Everdrive_NES+FDS
robert123451 スプラッターハウス わんぱくグラフィティ 2023-11-11T19:43:38Z
2023-11-11T19:43:38Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Doctor_Murdezio スプラッターハウス わんぱくグラフィティ 2023-09-12T03:21:44Z
2023-09-12T03:21:44Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
kukelennedy スプラッターハウス わんぱくグラフィティ 2023-09-05T03:05:49Z
2023-09-05T03:05:49Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
nbatman スプラッターハウス わんぱくグラフィティ 2023-07-13T01:44:37Z
2023-07-13T01:44:37Z
2.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
DJSuleiman スプラッターハウス わんぱくグラフィティ 2023-07-12T04:14:18Z
NES • JP
2023-07-12T04:14:18Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Indexxx スプラッターハウス わんぱくグラフィティ 2023-05-28T13:57:31Z
2023-05-28T13:57:31Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
xcvviii スプラッターハウス わんぱくグラフィティ 2023-05-11T05:21:17Z
2023-05-11T05:21:17Z
65
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
aricloudy スプラッターハウス わんぱくグラフィティ 2023-01-19T11:54:16Z
2023-01-19T11:54:16Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
xcixxorx スプラッターハウス わんぱくグラフィティ 2022-12-30T07:13:45Z
2022-12-30T07:13:45Z
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
ColdVein スプラッターハウス わんぱくグラフィティ 2022-12-13T20:58:27Z
2022-12-13T20:58:27Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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  • Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti
  • Splatterhouse: Naughty Graffiti
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  • MisTurHappy 2022-10-08 06:14:17.505479+00
    Man, I miss when game companies would parody their own IPs like this.
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